The Retail Price Index Advisory Committee is appointed by the Minister of Finance in accordance with the provisions of Article 33 of the Malta Statistics Authority Act (Chapter 422 of the laws of Malta). According to this article, “An Advisory Committee shall, for the better carrying out of the provisions of this Act, advise the Authority on such matters and perform such other functions as the Minister may specify in the instrument of appointment”.
Thus, the Retail Price Index Advisory Committee was set-up, and tasked with examining the RPI data prior to its publication and satisfy itself that the Index reflects faithfully the general price level in the economy. Furthermore, the Committee is empowered to make recommendations that may improve the manner and the frequency of price collect for those items that make up the index. Lastly the committee may also make recommendations on the organization of the Household Budgetary Survey which is carried out by the National Statistics Office once every five years.
The Retail Price Index Advisory Committee as we know it today was set up in 2001 following the enactment of the Malta Statistics Authority Act and was Chaired by the then Chairman of the Malta Statistics Authority (MSA) – Mr Reno Camilleri. Mr Camilleri was a veteran of official statistics, having been appointed Principal Government Statistician in January 1984. He occupied this post until his retirement from public duty in July 2013. He was succeeded by Professor Albert Leone Ganado – a Rhodes scholar and lifetime academic, who was also chairman of the MSA and held the post until June 2022. The third person to occupy the position of Chairman of the Retail Price Index Advisory Committee and of the MSA is Dr Carl Camilleri – an economist by profession and Head of the Economic Department at the University of Malta. Dr Camilleri is the present Chairman in office.
Recognising the importance of the Retail Price Index, the government set up the first overseeing body on this subject in 1979. The Committee of Users of the Retail Price Index as it was then known was led by the Principal Government Statistician and composed of representatives from numerous government departments, the Central Bank of Malta, the Trade Union Movement, the Business Community, and the Consumers.
Eventually the Retail Price Index Advisory Committee was appointed by Government in 1987 and was composed of the Principal Government Statistician as Chairman and 16 members representing Government and the Private Sector. In October 1990, the Committee was replaced by the Retail Price Index Management Board, on the recommendation of the Malta Council for Economic Development. The first person to chair the Retail Price Index Advisory Committee was Mr Patrick G. Staines, who only held
the reigns for a few months before Mr Reno Camilleri took over in 1988. The Board went back to being known as the Retail Price Index Advisory Committee in 2001 when the Malta Statistics Authority Act came into force.